Aircraft Could Get Safer Homes at San Luis Obispo Airport

More than 60 pilots who tie down their planes outside at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport could get homes for their aircraft by the end of next year.

The county Board of Supervisors this week gave the go-ahead to apply for a loan that would allow the airport to build 65 new hangers.

The loan, from the Caltrans Aeronautic Division, would cost $4.7 million to repay over 17 years, based on current project estimates.

That cost would be more than covered by renting the hangar space to pilots.

The airport is home to about 300 planes, said Martin Pehl, assistant airport manager. Many of the owners have their own hangars; however, there is a waiting list of 66 for hangars.

Although nothing has been finalized, airport managers expect that 54 of the hangars will have 1,062 square feet of floor space and will rent for between $490 and $625 a month; 11 will be larger, 1,331 square feet, and rent for $600 to $750 a month.

Duane P. Leib, the county's general services director, wrote supervisors that the Airport Master Plan had identified "significant demand" for additional hangars. That demand is exacerbated, he added, by the need to remove 20 existing hangars to allow for construction of the new airline terminal complex.

If all goes as planned, Pehl said, pilots would be able to use the hangars by the end of 2006.

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